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Indira Gandhi and Lee Kuan Yew

  Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is compared to Indira Gandhi by the Indian journalist, Sunanda Datta-Ray, who once worked for The Straits Times. In his book, Looking East to Look West, exploring India-Singapore relations, based on his interviews with MM Lee, he writes: Lee and Indira Gandhi shared […]

Paul Theroux on Kali and Calcutta

In A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta, Paul Theroux describes an animal sacrifice at the Kali temple in Kalighat. A goat, garlanded with flowers, is led bleating into a walled enclosure to the beat of drums. Once inside, the terrified creature is thrust between two upright stakes and caressed […]

Kipling, race and religion

The uproar in Singapore against Pastor Rony Tan, who was questioned by the authorities and had to apologize for mocking the religious beliefs of Buddhists and Taoists, reminds me of the controversy surrounding a famous writer. Rudyard Kipling was born in Mumbai, in the JJ School of Art, where his […]

Paul Theroux revisits Asia

Ghost Train To The Eastern Star by Paul Theroux Paul Theroux has written an immensely readable sequel to The Great Railway Bazaar, repeating that railway journey from Europe to Asia and back which earned him fame and fortune more than 30 years ago. It is bursting with people and places, […]

Short stories that add up to a novel

Tales from Firozsha Baag by Rohinton Mistry Tales from Firozsha Baag is a charming collection of short stories – and unusual too. Published in 1987, Rohinton Mistry’s first book describes an India I remember all too well. An India where it took years to get a telephone, months to get […]

Britain and Pakistan

The Shadow Of The Great Game: The Untold Story Of India’s Partition by Narendra Singh Sarila Tony Blair had to go because his Iraq policy proved deeply unpopular. We have read how Britons disapprove of their military presence in Iraq. But he was only pursuing traditional British policy. The Middle […]